The Strong Willed Child

Alisa - posted on 12/17/2008 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I hate to give my three year old a title so young but we are in constant battle and I am not willing to spank her. I am setting limits so she spends all of her time testing me.



We recently had some turmoil in our family so I know that has not helped but really it is a challenge as a single mom especially to deal with it. I am trying everything but if you have an suggestions I am all ears.



Thanks

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Eliese - posted on 10/24/2010

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I, too, have a very independent minded three year old. She is constantly testing her limits, and even more so now that she has a little brother! We try time outs, emphasizing the importance of good choices over bad ones, and try to get her to look at whomever she has "injured" (physically or psychologically, etc.), and see if they have a happy face or not. If it is not a happy face, we ask her why she thinks that is so. She can usually tell us why it is or is not. Then we decide together what to do to make it a happy face. (This is based on something they do in her Montessori preschool.) One thing I can say from my experience is that my daughter is always more obstinate when she is bored. If she doesn't have enough of a mental or physical challenge, she gets bored and then all bets are off! And we also need to make time just for her, to make sure she knows that we think she's still special, too, even though her little brother is still a baby and needs more hands-on time than she does.

I do believe that, even though she is rather challenging now, she will be all the better for it when she's older. She's going to need that kind of strength to deal with life--as a woman, and as the child of lesbian moms, as well as any number of other things that kids, or even grown ups will harass her about. I was the same way as a child (well, not quite as intense about it, at least according to my mother) and, over all, it has served me well as an adult. I hold on to that whenever she is really testing my limits. Ultimately, though, I know that she just wants my attention. And if I give it to her, she usually calms down. I hope any of that is helpful. Good luck!

Janine - posted on 08/02/2009

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I have 2 strong willed children. We have survived so far, though they are still strong willed. Be firm and consistent. Time outs can work, though it can be tough at first. They say 1 minute per year. Also, at that age routines can be very helpful. Having a regular schedule has helped with my boys. I'd like to say it will get easier, but that isn't necessarily the case. Good luck, it will all be fine.

Kandis - posted on 04/30/2009

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to Michelle: "slapping the back of their hand with the palm of ours -" I tried this once and my daughter said, "No to hit Jaida mama!" No to hit!" And then she hit her own hand. Corporal punishment hasn't been much of a deterrent for her. She's only two so there is not much reasoning yet. Time outs are the best for our VERY strong willed child so far.

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You can buy a mat or a small rug and make it the "time out" spot. I'm happy to hear you aren't spanking. So kids that aren't spanked think that time-outs are the END OF THE WORLD! :)

Kath - posted on 04/10/2009

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I think spanking is wrong BUT you have to set one boundry that when you give the signal - will stop your child immediately! For example, in a life and death situation e.g. to stop your kid stepping out onto the road, or falling into a pool etc. You need to be able to stop them. I think it is best when they are little, to deal out a few slaps on the hand with a a sharp Loud 'NO'! This gives you a 'safeword' that you may need in an emergancy. Speaking from my own experience, spanking from a childs point of view is that traumatic that lives on in the memory through to adult hood. So it needs to be used only to instill something really important in a toddlers brain.

By the time a child is 3 years old, a baby's brain has formed about 1,000 trillion connections — about twice as many as adults have. A baby's brain is superdense and will stay that way throughout the first decade of life. Beginning at about age 11, a child's brain gets rid of extra connections in a process calling "pruning," gradually making order out of a thick tangle of "wires."

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs...

When you kid is acting up to get your attention that's what they need. With respect as the most important person in your life, if that's what he/she needs, stop what you are doing, pick your little 'n up give them a cuddle and a bit of a time out for some TLC.

I find that if I treat my child with respect and heaps and heaps of love and cuddles, I'll have a kid who is animated and sweet natured and happy. Children display a mirror image of you, if you are anxious, argumentative and snotty it'll come right back atcha.

Mary - posted on 02/20/2009

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Keep Strong and Keep setting the limits.  My Mom told me it is our job to set limits and the childs job to test to see if we mean it.



My son is also very strong willed. He argues and questions over everything. His favorite battle is his school tie, which means a daily issue.  At first, I tried to be calm and explain...now six months into first grade, I say "because you have to wear a tie" and end the conversation!

Mary - posted on 02/20/2009

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Keep Strong and Keep setting the limits.  My Mom told me it is our job to set limits and the childs job to test to see if we mean it.



My son is also very strong willed. He argues and questions over everything. His favorite battle is his school tie, which means a daily issue.  At first, I tried to be calm and explain...now six months into first grade, I say "because you have to wear a tie" and end the conversation!

Nikki - posted on 02/13/2009

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The age of three is very hard. I believe it it is especially trying with girls. I have three girls. It is the age of asserting independence. Maybe you can give her some choices. You choose two things that she can decide which one she wants. This gives her control while you still have control. This should cut down on some battles, because she has a say in what is going on. I agree that spanking in any form is wrong. All that you teach is that you are bigger and you will hurt her. Maybe not physically but psychologically. The best way to cut the battles down is to give her some choices. Another thing is making a behavior chart. Make a list of what is expected and every time she does it give her a sticker. At this age rewards have to be immediate, kids this age do not have the memory to remember that you will reward them.

Nikki - posted on 02/13/2009

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The age of three is very hard. I believe it it is especially trying with girls. I have three girls. It is the age of asserting independence. Maybe you can give her some choices. You choose two things that she can decide which one she wants. This gives her control while you still have control. This should cut down on some battles, because she has a say in what is going on. I agree that spanking in any form is wrong. All that you teach is that you are bigger and you will hurt her. Maybe not physically but psychologically. The best way to cut the battles down is to give her some choices. Another thing is making a behavior chart. Make a list of what is expected and every time she does it give her a sticker. At this age rewards have to be immediate, kids this age do not have the memory to remember that you will reward them.

Michelle - posted on 12/22/2008

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this is my opinion only, but I don't believe three can be an age of reason yet. It seems that with ours, setting limits alone wasn't enough. If a toy disappears (toy time out) they just got another toy. If you restricted an activity, they just did something else. They just don't seem to 'get' that a certain behavior (or lack thereof) warrants the limits imposed, so they attempt to 'go around the new rule'. To help stop behaviors, we disciplined on the spot. Our little kids got 'hand spankings' - slapping the back of their hand with the palm of ours - just enough to sting, not enough to hurt or God forbid, leave marks. The idea was to put just enough momentary pain behind it to serve as a deterrent.. We told them before we started this what we were going to do and why - to help them remember to follow the rules. When they started pulling back hands, we reminded them that they broke the rule, and this is what happens when they choose to do that. We are big on 'making good choices' around here. Every kid is different - but even my (now) 5 year old still has problems figuring out cause and effect on a higher level. Breaking certain rules earns a smack on the hand, however is easily remembered. Just a thought - good luck - I was a strong willed kid too....and my parents beat it out of me. I'm glad you're looking for other ways to change her behaviors...but fear is the beginning of respect, in my opinion. :)

Alisa - posted on 12/18/2008

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Thank you Kitty! Today she turned three - sometimes I feel we are moving backward. Today she once again wet i think on purpose. That is her way of getting my attention. Like now she is playing with the computer. I better go.

Kitty - posted on 12/17/2008

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My 3-year old is also challenging sometimes, and it's much worse when I let myself be drawn into the conflict. I have been trying to respond to her with understanding... yes, honey, i know you're upset that you can't have the

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